Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Saturday 5th August 2017
Alfriston - Wilmington - Selmeston - Alciston - Bostal Hill - Alfriston
Even though we knew it
would be a very busy place we headed for Alfriston. It's a superb starting point
for a host of hikes in all directions but in August it's also a tourist
hot-spot. However, the moment we left the little town and took the SDW toward
the Long Man we found that by complete surprise we were almost alone. We doffed
our caps to the chalk giant, drank a cuppa down below him and then ambled along
the butterfly-strewn footpath to the church at Wilmington. The shade under the
1600 year old Yew was very welcome as were the pies we'd bought at our start
Today was mostly a perfect summer's day apart from a band of bad weather that
was being held at bay by the Downs. Unfortunately we had to cross it to get from
Wilmington to Arlington Reservoir and when we did it hit us with hail, wind,
heavy rain, thunder and lightning. On the other side of the tempest the sun came
back out and we dried as we walked, emitting a continuous cloud of steam as we
A mile south of Arlington Reservoir I saw the merest glimpse of something hurtle
into a hedgerow. I suspected a Sparrowhawk was hunting and sure enough a minute
later a stunning male was staring at us from a gate post. He shot off and
disappeared into a wheat field but by then our attention was taken by a huge
bird of prey hovering over a hedgerow about 100 metres away, the sun glinting
off of its white wings. Gill called out 'Osprey' as I rushed to pull my bins out
of my bag. We'd almost forgotten that they were a target species in this area at
this time of year. The autumn migration has begun and these birds will be making
their way south back to Africa but stopping at our reservoirs and lakes on the
way for a good feed-up and a rest.
The BMW we're now using (the Harley is due for its rebuild very soon) is running
perfectly and a very capable bike it is too. Hacking back and forth to Alfriston
on such a beautiful day was a real pleasure, without a fantastic hike and an
Four miles away the promontory of Firle
Beacon on the Downs, seen from Windover Hill.
We pay our respects.
We manage that without trampling all over his easily eroded slope.
Put the camera away and put the
waterproofs on. Quickly!
The sun's out again!
A remnant of the storm - a rainbow.
Alciston Barn - one of Sussex's wonders.
We got to the top of Bostal Hill in time
for sunset and a lovely descent back into Alfriston with the Downs all to
Take the time to read
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.